Misinformed Patients

  1. Hi, nurses.

    I'm working on a story for NurseWeek magazine involving patients who arm themselves with health information from the Internet. Education is a good thing, of course, but not everything you read on the Web is reliable. Have you met with patients who are misinformed about their conditions, or about particular products or medicines? If so, I'd love to hear from you. In particular, I'd like to know how you responded. Did you "re-educate" the patient yourself? Defer to a physician? Refer the patient to printed material? If you feel like talking, don't respond here but rather contact me directly at barzell@napanet.net. Thanks.

    Phil
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    Phil - I almost prefer the patients that come in with SOME knowledge of their condition form the internet because usualll they have either hit one of the "better" sites i.e. Heart Foundation and usually they have read enough to know that answers vary so they will come to us with a reasonably open mind.

    I certainly prefer the internet educated person over the one who accepts as gospel those fonts of wisdom such as "what my Father said" or "what some bloke down at the pub told me". Had a bloke the other day who was CONVINCED that it was OK to eat pork fat as long as you ate enough cabbage to inactivate the bad effects. Hellloooo! YOu are in here for your 2nd hear attack and your cholesteral is between Whoops and OH! My God. Could not change his mind because that is what his father had taught him.

    I do have one major concern though and that is the treatment of snake bite. Here in Australia all of our venomous land snakes belong to the Elapid family. Small fangs, with complex large molecule venom having little local effect but centrally acting neurotoxins and haematotoxins. Because the venom of these snakes travesl via the lymphatic system we have to use pressure bandage/immobilisation as first aid. Other venomous snakes overseas have more local effects where it is not recommended that the venom remains concentrated at the site in this manner.
    Unfortunately the websites out there - often written by amatuer herpetologists are unable to make this distinction.
  4. by   ERNurse752
    hehe...I had a guy come in two nights in a row with hypertensive epistaxis. He thought he could eat as much salt as he wanted as long as he drank enough vinegar to "cancel it out, since vinegar is the opposite of salt."
  5. by   disher
    Yes, I have had patient's come to an appointment with misinformation from the Web. I usually tell to them that I understand how they interpreted the information and applied it to their own situation, but that it doesn't fit their situation and explain why.
    Also, I give patients a list of websites that I have checked for reliable health information. I compiled the list by comparing several Websites to an interactive tool available at http://hitiweb.mitretek.org/
    After using the tool I felt confident that the sites I recommend contain reliable information
    Last edit by disher on May 10, '03

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